Devon

It has been quite some time since I wrote a blog actually talking about what Wayfarers have been up to so I apologise! I think the constant hard work has been getting to me and I just haven’t had the extra enthusiasm! Or there has been so many other wonderful things to do that I have got distracted. So here we are in the south of England with very little said about our travels through Europe. Ah well.

Our arrival in England was somewhat dramatic as the ferry that we were booked to travel on wasn’t running due to strike action. Fortunately we discovered this in time to drive to a different port further north in France (to Cherbourg) where we had to book new accommodation but were able to catch a ferry across to Poole on the intended day. So lots of phone calls to the ferry company, hostels, bus companies, and the car and insurance companies later, most of us were safely in England, being greeted by cheerful customs officials interested in what we were doing, though somewhat dubious about the singing that was going on in the queue leading off around the corner… then safely on the newly hired coach, had an enjoyable drive down to the school in Devon and then out to our different billeting families.

Unfortunately this was at the expense of our four drivers, Dave, Gawain, Heather and Evan who after dropping us at the ferry had to drive another 500km or so south to drop off the vans, then had to find another form of transport to get back to the port.  They finally made it here last night, three days after the rest of us and with one hour to spare before we started our Ring Bearer performance!

On the bright side, we are in England! And it is so beautiful! We saw more rainbows on our drive down to Devon than I have seen in the last two years combined! Autumn is just starting so it is cold and wet, the trees area starting to turn, but when the clouds part, the sun is beautiful and warm. I like to joke that the weather here is basically a typical winter day in Adelaide. It is our first cold weather for the trip though, so after so many months of warm (and sometimes disgustingly hot) weather, it is nice to go outside in the morning and feel a cold chill in the air. It does mean though, that everyone in the choir is hurriedly getting out (or going and buying) raincoats and warm jumpers, scarfs, gloves etc. and our bags are therefore getting bulkier and heavier!

We are working at the South Devon Steiner School, otherwise known as Hood Manor because it is in an old manor house. It is so nice to be back in English speaking classrooms! To begin with I just love listening to the accents of the children. So fabulously English! (And I am sure they are getting equal amusement out of listening to our Australian accents, although I must say, these are getting less exaggerated in a number of us as we unintentionally start mimicking the accents of those around us.) It is so wonderful to be able to talk to everyone! We speak and they understand! It sounds silly, I know, but it makes such a difference knowing that what you say is being understood by the children, being able to ask a question of the person walking past “could you tell me where to find the photocopier?” Or strike up a conversation with someone on the bus. Not only could the class threes say ‘amphibians’ and ‘mammals’, they knew what they meant!

It is Sunday today, and our day off. But tonight we are having a combined birthday celebration for Kate and Manuka, and are celebrating by having a variety night. Which will be particularly enjoyable now we are finally all together again! Having four people away makes the group feel so much smaller! I think we might all need a bit of time at the beginning to go away and practice the things we thought we might do, but haven’t had time to rehearse! Because as always, we haven’t had any spare time to do such extraneous things as rehearse! It might end up being a bit of a shambles. But shambles or no, it is sure to be lots of fun because it is the first purely leisure time that we have had together in a long time and we Wayfarers just love spending time together! So off I go!

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